Life in Gaza: From a Palestinian Teenager
A solution to Gaza’s woes must be found. Otherwise the youth will draw the shortest straw.
Over one year has passed since the 2014 Gaza War. With mass death and destruction during those fateful days, the events after the conflict have been much worse.
Once the violence had ended, Palestinians were optimistic about what the future would hold. It was clear to us that the arsenal Israel used against Gaza was overwhelming—on a scale we had never experienced before, which made us think that things could only get better. After all, how much worse could it get?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Gaza is still under lock and key, and it is only a matter of time before yet another war blows the bombarded territory to smithereens.
Israel must stop its policy of going to war every couple of years. I am 18 years old, and it is clear to me that the three Israeli wars on Gaza have failed. War has not changed anything; it has only made things worse. This summer alone, 25,000 Palestinian youth joined Hamas camps for combat training.
In June, I finished my high school exams. It wasn’t a good year. We started school very late due to the war and finished very early. Many students dropped out because they didn’t have any money. Tuition fees weren’t the issue; families simply couldn’t afford to pay for transport to send their kids to school.
For me, the school year was stressful. Not only was it an important milestone in my education, but the effects of war still haunt me. Every door that slams shuts; every window that opens loudly; every car that speeds past; with every sound, I think of a rocket or missile.
Statistics show that 15,000 Gaza houses were completely destroyed in the war. People who lost their homes now live in caravans. Many plans and promises were made by international officials to rebuild, but little has since been done.
The situation in Gaza is dire: The number of divorced people is increasing every day, crime rates are on the rise and unemployment has reached 70%. The middle-class in Gaza has been erased. You are either very rich or under the poverty line, which represents almost 65% of Gazans.
Not to mention the political tension between Hamas and other Palestinian factions. In July, five simultaneous car bombings targeted Hamas leaders in Gaza.
Most police officers joined Hamas not because of the party’s ideology, but to earn a living. Shockingly, however, they haven’t even been paid for eight months in a row.
There is a frivolous yet disappointing fact about jobs in Gaza: Palestinians inside the territory have two governments, the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations, companies and firms, yet not only is there no cash to pay monthly wages, but there are no available jobs.
After completing high school, it is difficult for me to see people—especially youth—who will graduate from university only to end up unemployed. It is painful for me to even think about not getting a job after I finish university.
We all know the cause of it. The huge economic recession, the floundering political system and the closed borders have shut Gaza off from the rest of the world. With the poor situation Gaza finds itself in, Palestinian youth will probably end up joining radical parties instead of gambling with their lives and getting an education.
This is the reality on the ground in Gaza. And unless a solution is found, Palestinians will witness their hardest days yet.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.